Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit heads to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 7) for four Matron Stakes for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 2-year-old colt pace carries a purse of $186,000, the 2-year-old colt trotters will race for $181,600, the purse for the 2-year-old filly pace is $176,400 and the 2-year-old filly trotters will race for $147,600.
Complete entries for the races are available at this link.
Last time: Grand Circuit racing action was back in the spotlight at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday (Nov. 1), as some of the sport’s brightest stars ventured to Hoosier Park for the final night of Grand Circuit racing this season.
After making a costly break in the $500,000 Breeders Crown 3-year-old colt trot last week, Don’t Let‘em was out for redemption and rebounded with authority in the $220,000 Carl Erskine Trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings. The cold temperatures didn’t seem to deter Don’t Let‘em and Yannick Gingras as they stopped the timer in 1:51.4 to re-establish the track record for 3-year-old colt trotters. The previous mark of 1:52.1 was set by What The Hill in Breeders Crown action in 2017.
Sent off as the heavy betting favorite, Don’t Let‘em left alertly from post two but Mass Fortune K (Matt Kakaley) was a step quicker through the opening quarter in :27.4. Gingras moved Don’t Let‘em to the front just before the half in :55.1 and was immediately joined on the outside by Pilot Discretion (Andrew McCarthy).
Don’t Let‘em was able to turn back Pilot Discretion through the three-quarters in 1:23.2 and was on top with a two-length lead turning for home. Using a :28.2 final quarter, Don’t Let‘em stayed on task and trotted strong to the wire, finishing five lengths in front of late-closing Chin Chin Hall (Peter Wrenn). Pilot Discretion held on for third.
“He’s going to drive me crazy,” trainer Nancy Johansson noted with a smile after the victory. “It’s just whatever horse shows up. He obviously has tremendous speed. He has tremendous speed and the talent, he just needs to behave. I never know what horse is going to show up but when he is on his game, he’s incredible.”
With the win, the son of Muscle Hill-Passageway recorded his fourth win from 13 outs this season and sports a 23-8-5-0 lifetime record. Owned by Brittany Farms, Christina Takter, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman, Don’t Let‘em has amassed $569,967 in lifetime purse earnings. Don’t Let‘em was bred by Brittany Farms.
One of the biggest upsets of the night came in the very next race on the program as De Los Cielos Deo (Matt Kakaley) got up in the final strides of the mile to upset the heavily favored Hickfromfrenchlick in the $225,000 Monument Circle Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. De Los Cielos Deo stopped the timer in 1:49.2.
With an eight race-win streak on the line, Hickfromfrenchlick (Trace Tetrick) went to the front from post eight to dictate fractions of :26.4, :54.3 and 1:22.1 before ever feeling a threat from the rest of the field. De Los Cielos Deo sat patiently in third for much of the mile but was in perfect striking position turning for home. Kakaley tipped De Los Cielos Deo and he found a :26.3 closing kick to track down Hickfromfrenchlick late in the lane. Dealer’s Table and Sam Widger utilized a ground-saving trip to round out the trifecta. De Los Cielos Deo returned $10.40 to his backers at the betting windows.
“I was confident coming into tonight,” Kakaley said in the winner’s circle. “He was good last week in the Breeders Crown. He’s been pretty inconsistent but I knew if he showed up tonight he’d be good. I’ve only driven him a couple times but he’s got the speed. The way the trip worked out for him tonight was beautiful.”
With the win, De Los Cielos Deo recorded his second win from 17 outs this season for trainer Ron Burke. The son of Captaintreacherous-Lisjune has now earned $425,080 in lifetime purse earnings and is owned in partnership by Burke Racing Stable, Larry Karr, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. De Los Cielos Deo was bred by Louis Willinger and Deo Volente Farms.
Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website.
Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2019 Grand Circuit awards.
Here are the leaders following this past weekend:
Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick – 1,316.5; 2. Yannick Gingras – 1,238; 3. Dexter Dunn – 964; 4. David Miller – 910; 5. Andrew McCarthy – 783.
Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 1,272; 2. Tony Alagna – 847; 3. Nancy Johansson – 662; 4. Ake Svanstedt – 637; 5. Marcus Melander – 603.
Owners: 1. Courant Inc. – 274.5; 2. Brad Grant – 267.1; 3. Burke Racing Stable – 236.2; 4. Fashion Farms – 224.5; 5. Robert Key – 221.
Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Dover Downs and The Meadowlands. Dover will host the four Matron Stakes for 3-year-olds, while The Meadowlands will have eliminations for the Fall Four for 2-year-olds — the Governor’s Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid.